A prayer for Croatia

Praying for Croatia

Adapted from Ephesians 3.14-21

For this reason I kneel before the Father, 15 from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name. 16 I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen the believers in Croatia with power through his Spirit in their inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in their hearts through faith. And I pray that the believers in Croatia, being rooted and established in love, 18 may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, 19 and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that they may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.

20 Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.

Pray for the economy

Please pray today for the Croatian economy, and for the Croats who have lost jobs or lost income due to the coronavirus shutdown. Pray for the believers of Croatia to be generous with the little that they have, rather than grasping it more tightly. And pray that American Christians will also respond to uncertainty with generosity and faith.

Before I left Zagreb last week, I read that the number of job losses in the preceding ten days was equal to nearly 10% of the population of Croatian. In a country of 4.2 million people, there have been hundreds of thousands of job losses since 1 February, the equivalent of tens of millions of job losses in the USA.

Remember that full-time wages in Croatia are extremely low; the average worker makes well under a thousand dollars per month during the good times, with a cost of living comparable to the USA. And now that times are not so good …

Pray for Vlado Pšenko

A few days ago I asked you to pray for Vukovar. Yesterday I learned that the minister from the Church of Christ there is in the hospital in critical condition.

Today, please pray for healing for Vlado Pšenko. Pray that God will heal and strengthen him so that he and his wife, Renata, will be able to continue their vital ministry in Vukovar.

ALSO please pray that God will raise up a couple, probably from the USA, who will be willing to travel to Vukovar and work alongside Vlado and Renata.

Earthquake, Coronavirus, etc.

Yesterday (Sunday) Zagreb was awakened by a 5.3 earthquake, centered about eight miles northeast of the center. I have heard that one person died in the quake. I have not seen confirmation.

Damage appears to be mild-to-moderate. The worst is to the older buildings, especially from the Center to the east. The Biblical Institute’s libraries both had damage to bookcases, but apparently nothing structural. All our people are well.

The earthquake struck as Croatia was locking down for the coronavirus. Churches & ministries, including the Institute, are springing into action with online content of various kinds: academic, social/interactive, devotional.

Please pray that the ministries & churches of Croatia will not miss this opportunity to impact Croatia with the gospel. Croats are more connected online than they have ever been, and they are hungrier for answers than at any time since the war.

May God open their hearts and guide our hands to meet these needs with the message of Jesus Christ.

Pray for Vukovar

Vukovar is a city on the eastern border of Croatia. It was heavily damaged during the war of the 1990’s, and a great war crime committed there. The city has a large Serbian population, and the Serbs and Croats there are heavily divided. The city is wounded, torn by internal hostility.

To my knowledge, there are two evangelical churches in Vukovar: Valley of Blessings Church of Christ (led by BIZG alumnus Vlado Psenko and his wife Renata) and another (either Baptist or Evangelical Pentecostal) church. There are also several Catholic and Orthodox churches.

Please pray today for Vukovar.

Pray for the ministers and their churches.

Pray for the people who have already lost their jobs in this economically-depressed region, and the many more who are living and feeding their families day-to-day.

Pray not only for the evangelical churches but for ALL the believers in Jesus Christ, regardless of denomination and ethnic background. Pray that they will be one (Jn 17.21), evangelical and Catholic and Orthodox, that God would use this time of trial to break down the barriers between them and let them serve one another and meet the needs of the desperate around them.

Pray for the pastors and their families, that God would give them strength and wisdom to serve as Jesus would serve.

PLEASE pray for Vukovar.

For marriages & parenting

Christians from multiple denominations gathered to discuss raising children in a Christian family.

Today, Christians gathered at BIZG’s Centar biblijskih istraživanja (Center for Biblical Research) to discuss the Christian family & raising children. The presenters are all parents and ministry practitioners, experts in theology, family ministry, and psychology.

  • Pray today for the Christian marriages in Croatia.
  • Pray that God would protect those marriages & bind husbands & wives together in Christlikeness.
  • Pray that God would give the parents special wisdom for growing their children to follow Jesus.
  • Pray for the children raised in those marriages.
  • Pray especially for the teenagers, who face incredible pressure to conform to the secular (nominal Catholic) culture around them.

“Lord, open their hearts to the gospel” (2.24.2020)

The combined effects of de facto state religion (Croatia is 85% Catholic), fifty years of communism (1940’s – 1990’s), and trauma from two World Wars and the Balkan wars of the 1990’s have combined to make Croats slow to hear and consider the gospel. Pray for the Holy Spirit to open hearts and minds.